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Against the IFP

Centralizing control over a currency’s infrastructure is a seemingly obvious mistake.

One would think any Austro-libertarian worth their salt would be able to see thru such a charade. Yet here we are, again. Face to face with economic illiteracy. Not garden variety lefist economic illiteracy, but one far more stinging and painful - one which comes from within our own community, rather than from without. 

First, Bitcoiners faced the economic illiteracy of maximalism and small blockers. Attempts to masquerade money’s primary function as value storage (Ammous) or rejecting Menger’s Regression Theorem altogether (Szabo) are luckily demonstrably false. Nevertheless, the shock of our fellow Bitcoiners illiteracy was like an unexpected slap in the face. Suddenly, we were forced to confront the fact that the ignorance of our allies in the fight for sound money, had led them astray. Yet, thru BCH we were thankfully able to keep Satoshi’s dream of peer to peer cash intact. 
Well, crypto anarch…

Who Would Do X in a Stateless Society? You and I.

When arguing for a stateless society, we often see Statists reacting as if society would divulge into chaos if our system were enacted. Now that the State is involved in steering so many activities and facets of our lives, they simply cannot fathom how things could be done without them. Arguing based on deontological ethics questioning why the people we collectively call “the State” has special privileges and “authority” to pillage and control us that no one else has thus isn’t sufficient in most cases to persuade them; consequentialist arguments must be utilized, and this can be quite challenging given the specialized knowledge of the history and technical processes of the various industries often required to provide adequate responses to.

This inconvenience, however, also has a flip side, namely that we’re forced to become strong mentally, to be rigid in our thinking, to be consistent, to improve our argumentation, and to always keep learning new things. Philosophy, politics, economics, and history are the core subjects we ought to become conversant in, but during our research we also recognize that other bodies of knowledge also become relevant, such as how the drugs and vaccines the State are constantly pushing us to take affect our bodies in the long- and short-term, and whether there are better ways to stay fit and healthy (health and medicine); how the State school system affects children’s development (developmental psychology); the role stigma by friends and families as programmed through the schools, the media, and popular culture plays in hampering independent, critical thinking (socialization); etc. These are all important things to consider when arguing why the current system is broken and is desperately in need of an alternative.

Comparing the current Statist society with a stateless one often requires deductive reasoning to sketch a plausible image of how things would be done differently in the latter, as there are not many “natural experiments” to observe in this regard, though some knowledge of history and comparative politics provides some “empirical data” to take basis in. Philosophy and economics thus become our main guide for areas where such is lacking, though it isn’t all too difficult to derive if you ask the right questions. Below I’ve provided a set of general questions one can reflect on when making a consequentialist case for a stateless society:
  1. How is X currently done under a Statist system, and are there clear problems with that way of doing it?
  2. What reasons do we have for expecting X to be done differently in a stateless society, and would that generally be better or worse than it currently is?
  3. Do those reasons stand up to scrutiny?

For point 2, we may, for instance, take account of the facts that there would be no State-mandated taxes and regulations, and draw out the logical implications of that based on the concepts competition, supply, demand, etc. from our knowledge of economics, as I did in my recent article Entrepreneurship in a Stateless Society. During discussions with Statists, they’ll naturally be arguing in the negative at that point, often with the conviction that politicians are altruistic and acting for the good of the people, while business owners are selfish and acting against the well-being of the people to acquire a profit. To rebut this (point 3), it’s useful to bring up the difference in the feedback-mechanism of the State bureaucracy and the profit-and-loss system of the market, and that since both consists of imperfect people, the important question lies in which system produces the incentives that cause the best possible results for the largest amount of people.

Who would do X in a stateless society? Simply enough, you and I. With no State to forcibly extract our money and distribute it to those plagued with poverty and disabilities, we must help them. With fundraising sites on the internet this has in our age also made it a lot easier in case the culture in a given area isn’t very charitable. With no State to regulate work conditions, minimum wage, etc., we, the workers, have to build up our skillset to provide more marginal value to those we work for if we want a raise, and be willing to stand up for ourselves and improve our persuasion skills to protest against poor work conditions or pay, or simply make the decision to go over to a different company that provides more adequate pay (and work conditions) for our marginal value.

With no State to regulate the safety of food, drugs, vaccines, etc., we, the customers, have to ensure that they are safe and effective, though this is made a lot easier for us as specialists test them for us, such as we already have with Consumer Reports for product testing, and various other apps and sites to compare the quality and price of various restaurants, hotels, vacation destinations, etc. What we then have to do is to become familiar with those sites that make our lives and decisions easier, to judge based on independent reviews rather than captured corporatist “regulatory” agencies like the FDA and the CDC, though we naturally also have to be wary whether a review site may be impacted by corporate influence, thus priming us for skepticism and critical thinking rather than blindly trusting the State testing process.

With no State to provide us with special privileges, subsidies, and bailouts, we, who are entrepreneurs and business owners, have to create value by providing the people what they demand, and be observant of the changes in the demand to our goods and services, as well as the competing companies that are challenging our market share. And all this is because, and only to the extent that we, the customers, hold the businesses who fail to do this accountable by rather switching to another company that better upholds this standard, or we may even start up our own businesses if we see a gap in the market and the potential for profit, which we could pursue without great difficulty as the State barriers to entry of taxes, regulations, licenses, etc., would be absent.

Living under true freedom comes at the cost of having to take full responsibility of our own lives. We couldn’t rely on the government to take care of us and tell us what is right or wrong. “The government is best which governs least,” as Thomas Jefferson said, “because its people discipline themselves.” We would have to help ourselves and our fellows, develop a proper moral compass of what the right and wrong modes of action are, adopt responsibility, and consequently find meaning in our lives. The larger the portion of a population adopts personal responsibility as such, the readier it is for statelessness, and you can right here and now begin to do your part in this process: learn by reading thought-provoking books and watching educational videos; write about what you’ve learned in a personal blog (or, if relevant, post as a submission to The Anarchist Perspective); create a podcast and talk with interesting people, where both parts can learn from each others’ experiences and knowledge; discuss these ideas with your friends and family in a civil and strategic manner (depending on their openness to such); etc.

A population whose members have freed their minds can without great difficulty free themselves from their chains, but those who haven’t freed their minds will give up on those chains only if forced to, the latter process being highly unsustainable. Free your mind and that of others, and you’re taking a great step in establishing a truly free society for the future.

Written by Stefan M. Kløvning and republished with permission from The Anarchist Perspective.


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