Self Governance

Government is a relatively new human phenomenon, and even as it exists today the State is not everywhere doing every thing, thankfully. We do plenty without State intervention or consent, some deliberately, and in some places the state fails (see Fragile State Index, formerly Failed State Index). When a government “shutdown”occurs in the US or elsewhere it’s not as if shit hits the fan, and it’s not as if before governments existed anarchy was not without problems. For all of human history people have solved their own problems on their own, and only recently began solving (and creating) problems with governments. That problem solving, building relationships and trust is “governance.” Stateless civil governance is not a monopoly, i.e. a Government, the State.

It is fallacious to conclude that because we should appeal to a third party to adjudicate our disputes, that there must be only one third party anyone can appeal to. Stateless (non-monopoly) civil governance allows for more than one third party so that even those who adjudicate disputes do not end up being judges in their own cases.

The need for a generally agreed upon and known law is a reason for statelessness.

Statelessness provides the incentive necessary to keep the law within a knowable limit. Apart from a monopoly, there is high incentive to have uniform and known rules. Historically, this has been exactly the case, for example in the well-known and stateless Law Merchant.

The need for effective law enforcement is a reason for statelessness. Kerry Baldwin

Law enforcement is one of the straws that breaks the back of State validity:

Much work has been devoted to understanding how cooperation may flourish in rational societies where defection is advantaged. Previous models showed that policing was one way to keep defectors at bay, but those studies neglected the possibility that police themselves might be corrupt.

We found that corruption can indeed spread throughout the police force. Perhaps more notably, this situation can be stable, and end in a social well-being that is higher than if the population lacked any police force. As it turns out, even though police officers can seek personal advancement and thus be corrupt, they still keep defectors at bay. This lack of defectors can hold a society together. Of course, the highest social well-being is still achieved in societies that have an honest police force.

Our research suggests that power inequalities promote and maintain corruption. It seems Lord Acton had it right in the late XIX century when he said “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

To eliminate the “appeal” of corruption completely, a society would need to reward police consistently and substantially, while punishing corruption and defection equally and severely. As a consequence, the police force has enough incentives to do its work honestly and little or no incentive to be corrupt. But in countries that unfortunately suffer from social inequalities, people might be still better off with corrupted cops than without cops at all… Edgar A. Duéñez Guzmán

It’s when the police are an arm of the State, and have a monopoly, that things can go bad as they have absolute power (although you could say within the limits of the State law).

Locke’s argument [civil governance can only be accomplished through a state and are not achievable through statelessness] doesn’t take into account the emergence of organized enforcement. We already see this in the form of private security companies, and also in the case of more formidable defenses like the existence of citizen militias. Historically, there are a number of examples of stateless organizing for defense and enforcement, such as in the “Not So Wild” American frontier. Kerry Baldwin

How bad is it?

According to the non-governmental organization Transparency International, each year around 16 per cent of the world’s (human) population bribes a police officer. That figure varies a good deal between regions, from just 0.5 per cent in Oceania in the Pacific Ocean to nearly 40 per cent in central Africa. Studies in Ohio and Illinois suggest that 70-80 per cent of police officers witness minor corruption each year. A 2002 police report claimed that corruption was so pervasive at Scotland Yard in the UK that crime syndicates could enter at will by bribing officers. In the US, investigations of police crime are said to be hampered by a ‘blue wall of silence’. Suzanne Sadedin

A solution from Edgar Guzman (cited above, and in the following below) and Francisco Úbeda point to what they perceive as a flaw in anarchism:

Philosophical Anarchism promotes egoist individuals who do not believe in any form of authority (Stirner 1845). Individuals bounded by authority cooperate whereas self‐interested individuals (who ignore authority) defect and take advantage of the individuals bounded by authority. Such system would be unstable because eventually all individuals will end up disregarding authority (Miller 1984). Our model indicates that the society championed by Stirner (1845) would persist if the individuals who disregard all authority encourage fellow citizens to respect authority (keeping their arguments to themselves). This is in line with the arguments of (Miller 1984).

…Our model predicts behavioral polymorphism with some individuals willing to engage in costly punishment (but others not) and with some individuals willing to cooperate (but others not). Individuals not willing to cooperate, however, are expected to be in positions of power, advocate cooperation, and even punish noncooperators. Power and Corruption

In the conclusion above Guzman and Ubeda seem to fail to recognize the connection, as their own study shows, that all of us could be or are to some degree, police in our own right, and it is power that often does not cooperate. As they say themselves, “the greater the power, the greater the tendency to condemn the transgression of others more than one’s own (Lammers et al. 2010),” yet later they say “individual bounded by authority cooperate,” so which is it? And what kind of individual needs authority to bind them to some sort of ethical framework? They continue, “We show that power corrupts. In our game, a necessary condition for the evolution of corrupt policing is that there are power asymmetries, particularly policers receive less punishment than civilians.” So an asymmetry is power is bad, but isn’t that exactly what Stiner thinks, i.e. that authority should be smashed, or the playing field leveled. Or as the libertarianous tagline from the Black Panthers puts forth: “All Power to All People.” Which, as I have said, is the logical equivalent of no power to no people, the chains are blocked.  So perhaps the anarchist is right to “not believe in any form of authority,” but that does not mean they don’t or won’t be civil, or that the third parties arbitrating civil matters have to be the State. Inalienability itself puts humans on a level playing field, or the equality and responsibility of people as it relates to human rights and crime (and should to employment as well). Inalienability denies authority, and it is only authority that can deny inalienability (albeit illegally?), be it the police, or judge and jury.



The earth belongs in usufruct to the living… It may be proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation. They may manage it then, and what proceeds from it, as they please, during their usufruct. They are masters too of their own persons, and consequently may govern them as they please. But persons and property make the sum of the objects of government. Thomas Jefferson

When governance grows to become disconnected from those affected by the decisions of a mostly unaccountable bureaucracy monopolized by outsiders and corporations it a Government, it is alienation not autonomy, nor civil for that matter.

Unlike the mythic State, governance today is no longer a question of divinity or even mastery. Empire is instead the force of prevention. What Empire prevents is the future, which it claims is only full of horror, chaos, and disappointment – where apocalyptic monsters or dystopian nightmares come true. The present, we are told, is in crisis. Paradoxically, Empire’s solution is to deepen the crisis in order to save the present. The experience of this drawn-out present is a combination of the profusion of difference paired with the vague notion that nothing is really changing. To achieve this confusing state – where the more that things change, the more they stay the same – Empire undertakes two abstract processes: circulation and management. These two processes are its essential modes of operation…The slogan ‘capitalism is the crisis’ is perhaps even more popular than ‘capitalism is crisis,’ but it does not capture the key transcendental point that capitalism is both the cause and beneficiary of crisis. Crisis



Governance via anarchism could take many forms:

   A number of schools of anarchism have sprung up since Proudhon proclaimed himself an anarchist in 1840. Those who most closely followed Proudhon’s economic system adopted the label mutualist. Typically mutualists support individual possession backed by mutual banking systems, emphasize associations between free laborers, and reject property titles not based on occupancy and use, such as the landed estates that rule over laborers based on historic access to state administrators. Like most anarchists, mutualists hold that resources will become more widely available as the restrictions and privileges upheld by the state are removed.

Individualist anarchism also took root in the 1840s. Josiah Warren’s experience with American utopian colonies had convinced him that upholding the sovereignty of the individual and ensuring that every person received the full value of his labor were crucial ingredients for a successful equitable society. His writings had a profound influence on other libertarians in America. In Germany, Max Stirner came out with his 1845 book The Ego and His Own, which rejected morality and absolutes. Stirner’s egoism later became an influence on anarchists, and many, including Benjamin Tucker, incorporated Stirner’s ideas into their thought.

Collectivist anarchism, which was advocated by international man of revolution Mikhail Bakunin, emphasizes the collective association of workers instead of individual ownership like the mutualists and individualists. Labor was seen as a social endeavor and individuals could access the products of society so far as they contributed to it with their own labor.

Anarchist communism, advocated by Peter Kropotkin, goes farther by holding that individuals should work in common and receive resources based upon their needs, rather than upon their deeds.

Anarchist syndicalism takes the federated labor union as the basis for organizing revolutionary action as well as the basis for economic organization in an anarchist society. Workers’ federations would run factories, farms, and other workplaces.

Anarcho-capitalism was first expressed in the mid-twentieth century by Murray Rothbard and David Friedman, but was largely anticipated by Gustave de Molinari in his 1849 essay, “The Production of Security.” Anarcho-capitalists draw heavily on studies in economics, often in the Austrian school, to advocate a society where services typically provided by government are instead provided by market actors. Anarcho-capitalists generally see exchanges in a free market as choices made among equals and are therefore less concerned about credit, interest, rent, and labor issues than other anarchists.

Note that some anarchists would exclude other categories from anarchism. To me if the anarcho comes first and the economic preferences second then an advocate of any of these schools can rightfully be categorized as anarchist.

A number of other labels have been adopted by anarchists to show a particular emphasis in their goals and methods, and adopting one label by no means excludes the ideas of another. Anarcho-pacifism, related to Christian anarchism and the writings of Tolstoy, opposes any use of force or violence as inherently authoritarian. Green anarchism, of which primitivism is one subset, has a particular focus on ecology. Anarcha-feminism analyzes and combats patriarchy with anarchist principles. Anarcho-transhumanism explores the relationship between anarchist thought and major scientific advancements in human longevity and capability. Agorism sees opportunities for liberation in markets that aren’t sanctioned by the state.

All anarchists seek the greatest freedom for each individual, unrestrained by political, social, or economic authority.

The state is nothing mystical, but is an institution made of people. It is a social organization that incentives certain behavior, generally worse behavior than that encouraged by free association on principles of cooperation and solidarity. The state relies for its existence on force and deference to people of higher rank. It enforces its own monopoly. To get to the top, political leaders must please powerful interests and usually continue working with certain interests in order to stay in power. Darian Worden

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