I have been told several times by both individuals on the left and individuals on the right that anarchists are naive. Personally, I find this to be not just wrong but also grandiloquent, invective, and bellicose.
Human governmental history is a history of failure. It is a history of 10,000 years of complete failure. Every government that ever was is a failed state, and every government currently extent is a future failed state. Even the best of governments are merely less tyrannical than the majority. That isn't a particularly good selling point. At the point I make this argument in any debate, I am usually told that if I don't like it I should leave... Well, how about those damned colonists who hated English tyrrany? I suppose they ought to have left? I never said that I liked another country more, I just said that this one is shitty and doomed to failure. Is it not naive to think that somehow your current government is a special snow flake that is somehow magically different from all of the other governments in human history and human present? Is it not naive to believe that a government will not abuse its power? Is it not naive to believe that a government that will murder, steal, spy is somehow not one that will do as it wishes without regard for its constituents?
Anarchists are told that government has always been and will always need to be (which is just normalcy bias, but whatever). We are accused of being utopian in our view of anarchy and of mankind. This always mystifies me. The argument of anarchists is that humans are essentially motivated by economic incentive. Another way of putting this is that humans are greedy and will do what is in their best interest as would any other animal. That isn't utopian. All of the statists of the world inherently admit to this (that humans are greedy) when they tax something to discourage its use and offer subsidies to encourage its use. The premise here would be that because people respond to economic incentives, markets can replace government. There are many essays on how to replace government with the market but those are somewhat irrelevant. Governments don't work which is why they fail. Markets persist because they work.
There are four basic premises that statists have for why a government is needed.
- People are evil, and therefore a government is needed to keep people in line.
- People are mostly good, but there are those bad people from whom the majority need protection.
- Our people are good, but other people are bad so we need a government to protect us.
- People are neither and government promotes order.
If people are evil then so are the people in government (unless you believe that there are magic people who are not people), and a government is therefore too dangerous to allow to exist. If people are mostly good, then a government is not necessary. People are perfectly capable of defending themselves from some petty minority. If our people are good and foreigners are bad, we need to ask what the difference is. Certainly, it is governments that start war and therefore having a government likely makes it more probable that a war would start. If people are neither good nor bad and it is order you want, there is nothing more orderly than going to work, making some money, paying the mortgage, having some kids, and retiring to Florida to go die. The market seems to have handled it.
Statists also love to say that certain governments are great on paper and fail in practice, but this is not just true of certain governments. This is true of all governments. All governments can appear to solve problems when they are ideas on paper. In practice, governments lead to mass starvation, mass murder, and the destruction of property. This has been true of every government alive or dead. In the 20th century alone, over 260 million people were killed by their own secular humanist government. This is not something that I can say of markets. Stop being naive. Left or right, it is plain to see the United States of America no longer represents the government described in the US Constitution. That would necessarily mean that either the Constitution allowed for the government we have, or that it had no power to prevent the government we have. In either case, it failed. It is naive to think that politicians, individuals commonly known to be liars and cheats, would follow law while writing it.
It is not the anarchists who are naive. Anarchists are the ones saying that humans cannot be trusted to rule other humans. Instead, humans should be left to profit off of each other. When all transactions are voluntary, everyone wins. Will there be bad shit that happens? Of course. There is always bad shit. At the moment, it would appear that the majority of bad shit is happening because governments tend to do really bad shit and fuck shit up. If you think you will change this by voting the bums out, how do you think that the bums got in? YOU'VE ALREADY DONE THIS BEFORE AND IT DIDN'T WORK. All the libertarians and anarchists and voluntaryists are saying is: give liberty a chance. 10,000 years of trying the exact same shit, and how is that working for you?