PostHeaderIcon Rethinking Anarchy

The longer I contemplate it, the more I find myself inclined to agree with much of the anarchist wing of libertarian thought. The notion that coercive government is a necessary evil for civilization to flourish simply isn't accurate, and the history of the world is replete with anecdotal evidence to the contrary. One such example, is our own history of the 'lawless' Frontier, as we settled the West. If one strips away the revisionist rhetoric, and particularly the sensationalized Hollywood characterizations, one finds a remarkably cooperative, productive, and yes relatively peaceful libertarian society of rugged individualists.

I just read an awesome essay on, which is very thought-provoking. Entitled, “The American West: A Heritage of Peace,” it is not short; but it is profound and well worth the read. I guarantee it will rearrange what you think you know about that period of our history, and the implications for libertarianism found in the unvarnished truth. Please do invest the time, it won't be wasted. â—„Daveâ–º


2 Responses to “Rethinking Anarchy”

  • Troy says:

    Several things are brought immediately to mind: First and foremost is the fact that justice was usually swift and sure — and, by all accounts, reasonably fair and, pun intended, just. as a result, most people were better behaved despite the relative lack of law enforcement.

    For instance, according to the more accurate tales of the old West, women, even when alone in a remote setting (as they often were when their men were away on whatever business) were in far less danger of being accosted than they would be in today’s more “civilized” society, even when surrounded by their fellow citizens.

    For another instance, consider the current circus that is the Nidal Hasan “trial” versus the likelihood that the perpetrator of a similar crime in a fort in the old West would have remained alive until the end of the day following the commission of the crime.

    The other aspect of the old West that especially appeals to me is that the rules of life were well understood by all so that one could engage in one’s business in the firm belief that good actions would usually achieve good results and vice versa.

    Obviously, that was also a time of extreme self reliance and personal responsibility. There was no notion that one’s shortcomings and/or bad deeds could somehow be the fault of some nameless, faceless “others” and thereby to some extent excusable. A man’s word was his bond and his reputation was the basis of his standing in society.

    All of this we could use a major dose of today!

    If government were such a fine idea, then it would naturally follow that, the more government, the more justice would prevail. However, all experience has proven that just the opposite is true. Government is power and that power is exercised by those who are privileged to wield it. Such power is addictive to the point where those who have tasted it all too often will misuse it in order to maintain their privileged position, with justice being sacrificed in the process. Clearly, Lord Acton summed this up in far fewer words.

    Thanks for sharing.


    • Well said. All good points. Too bad there are no frontiers left, which are out of the reach of the statists and their drones. I expect the remnants of our society, after its inevitable collapse into chaos, will get to recreate that stage in our history, at least for a time. â—„Daveâ–º

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